Mushroom Festival Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Can you imagine eating 11 1/2 pounds of fried mushrooms in 10 minutes?  

Yeah, me neither, but you should have seen it - Molly Schuyler, the world’s  #1 ranked competitive eater, crammed all those 'shrooms into her little body yesterday, beating out some pretty big guys - saw it with my own eyes or I wouldn't have believed it!  Was kind of gross and exciting all at the same time.

Mushroom eating isn't the only competition at the festival.  They also host the Amateur Mushroom Cook Off which used to feature mushroom soups and now showcases mushroom appetizers.  I competed in the cook off for the past four years, so I was thrilled when I was asked to be a judge this year!  I will admit that It felt kind of weird to be on the other side of the table this year.  But, it was certainly fun to be able to taste all the delicious entries!

Amateur Mushroom Cook Off:

Congrats to all the finalists!  You all did a great job!

(The winning recipes will soon be posted on the Mushroom Festival website)

Jane Henry (Avondale, PA) – Baby Bella Shrimp Bangers
Katie Hagerty (Garnet Valley, PA) – Mushroom Medley Flatbread
Danielle Sanderson (Philadelphia, PA) – Cremini & Caramelized Onion Tartlets - Second Place
Devon Delaney (Westport, CT) – Saigon Summer Salad Rolls
Nancy MacKenzie (Newtown Sq., PA) – Baby Bello ‘Shroom Taco Bites - Third Place
Kathleen Harman (Abbottsown, PA) – Mushroom Taquitos - First Place 

Cooking Demonstration:

Along with the judging, I was asked to do a mushroom cooking demonstration and talk a little bit about my cooking contest experiences.  I decided to use my favorite mushroom flavor combination, caramelized crimini mushrooms, bacon and shallots, in three different dishes: Macaroni & Cheese, Nachos and Empanadas.  There was a really great crowd despite the high heat and humidity! …maybe the smell of mushrooms cooking in bacon fat lured them in ( :

Recipes:

Click Link to go to the post and scroll down:

Kennett Square Ultimate Mushroom, Bacon & Shallot Nachos 

Spinach, Bacon & Mushroom Nachos w/ Gruyere Cheese Dipping Sauce

Mushroom Festival Macaroni and Cheese Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud

Serves 8-12 depending on serving size

Ingredients:

Mushroom Mixture:

6 strips bacon, cut into thin pieces

1 cup shallots, thinly sliced

6 cups crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons dry marsala wine

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Cheese Sauce:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups each fontina and gruyere cheese, shredded

Macaroni:

3 quarts water

3 tablespoons kosher salt

3 cups uncooked macaroni pasta

Toppings:

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flat leaf parley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mushroom Mixture:

In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Use slotted spoon to remove to paper towel lined plate.  Pour off all but two tablespoons bacon fat.  Add shallots, mushrooms, salt and pepper to pan.  Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the released mushroom juices have cooked off.  Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine and add the parsley.  Cook for about 15 more minutes or until the mushrooms and shallots are caramelized.  (If they start to stick to the pan, you can add a tablespoon or two of water - it will loosen the mixture up and then cook off.)  Stir the bacon into the mixture, cover and keep warm.

Cheese Sauce:

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.  Stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for a minute or two.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Cook over medium low heat, whisking frequently until the mixture thickens a bit, (about 8 minutes and 155- 160 degrees on instant read thermometer.)  Take pan off heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce and cheeses.  Stir until cheeses are melted and smooth.  Cover and keep warm.

Macaroni:

Bring water to boil over high heat.  Add salt and stir to dissolve.  Stir in macaroni and cook about 1 minute less than box directions.  Drain and pour into 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish.

Assemble & Bake:

Stir cheese sauce into the macaroni.  Sprinkle the mushroom mixture evenly over the macaroni mixture.  Top with the bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with parsley and lemon zest, if desired.

Printable Recipe: Mushroom Festival Macaroni and Cheese

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipes!  Tina ( :